There's really no other way to describe the move of the Chargers from San Diego to Los Angeles at this point, something that I saw firsthand over the weekend.
One week after feeling a palpable sense of energy and enthusiasm regarding the NFL in London, I found the exact opposite reaction in LA.
Will it mean anything long-term, though? Here are my big takeaways from the situation.
1. Awareness about the Chargers is low in the city. After I landed in LA to call the Eagles-Chargers game on Westwood One Sports, I asked quite a few people in town a simple question: Who were the Chargers playing on Sunday?
No one had any idea.
Not the people at the front desk in the hotel. Not the hostess or waiter at happy hour when I met up with some of my college buddies. Not the Uber driver from the Valley who took me back to my hotel. Nobody at the restaurant where we had dinner that night. Not a single person.
Now, I don't think everyone in a city would necessarily be able to recall a local team's schedule off the top of their heads, but at least some of them would. Can't imagine many cities where we would go approximately 0-20 in terms of knowing who the home team was playing that weekend. At home.
2. Locals don't even know what channel to watch the team on. One of my college teammates thought I was in town to call the game on TV rather than radio, so he wanted to make sure to DVR it. Evidently that was an issue because CBS was covering the Raiders-Broncos game and FOX was playing Rams-Cowboys in its entirety, so the Chargers were placed on a "secondary" FOX station. I didn't even know such a thing existed, but it can't be good for brand awareness if someone with a specific interest in the game can't even find it.
3. People care more about the Raiders. Much more. Even though the Chargers have moved into the market and the Raiders will be making the move to Las Vegas from Oakland in a few years, there were more eyeballs on the Raiders game against the Broncos than the one between the Chargers and the Eagles. Fans are still nostalgic for that time when the Raiders were in town.
4. The lack of support affects the Chargers players. Or at least doesn't help. Talking with some Chargers players and coaches before the game it was clear that they were trying to say all the right things regarding their situation and the lack of home field advantage, but you could tell it was disheartening for them to hear people cheer loudly for the away team. And frankly, how could it not be? Quarterback Philip Rivers even had problems hearing plays in his headset and calling out audibles because Eagles fans made sure to make things difficult when the Chargers were on offense.
I can still remember taking the field for the Bills in Week 17 of the 2004 season against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Buffalo and seeing Terrible Towels waving around the stadium everywhere you looked. It was disappointing, but I don't think it really affected our performance that day other than not really having the advantage of noise on our side when the Steelers had the ball. In other words, it may not have been a huge disadvantage, but there was certainly no edge gained for us by being at home.
Every week, though? That would get old. Fast. Conservatively, a solid 50 percent of the fans on Sunday at the StubHub Center were wearing Eagles green and they were definitely louder than their Chargers counterparts. There were loud roars when the Eagles took the field and modest boos when the Chargers did. Booed at your own stadium? Before the game even starts?
"It's sad when you're home and it feels like it's away," running back Melvin Gordon told reporters after the game. "When you're 0-4, what can you expect?"
But most of these tickets were bought weeks ago. Do we really think it would have made that much of a difference if the Chargers were 2-1 going into the game, like the Eagles were? I certainly don't.
5. Does any of this really matter? "I don't think the Chargers or other NFL owners are all that concerned right now," former NFL executive Andrew Brandt told me recently on the Ross Tucker Football Podcast.
"These next three years are just a speed bump until they move into [owner Stan] Kroenke's Shangri-La."
While I agree that the Chargers may pick up some fans over the next few years and certainly should have more supporters when they move into the new building in Inglewood, how many fans should we expect?
Are the Chargers going to fill the stadium to capacity when they move into their new place? And how many of those people will be coming for the novelty of the facilities rather than the team? Are they really true fans?
The bottom line is that the Chargers are off to a bad start in LA in several ways, and it's extremely difficult to foresee a scenario where they are properly supported by the hometown fans.
It's just a shame for everybody involved.